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Description, Categories and Awards


When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him. And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before ...A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.
Picking up the 2nd Cormoran Strike novel, THE SILKWORM, in preparation for reviewing of the 3rd for Reviewing the Evidence, I was reminded how much I really enjoyed the first book. Way before I had any idea of Robert Galbraith’s true identity.

The major appeal of the series, for this reader, is the building working relationship between the two main characters - Cormoran Strike and his assistant / apprentice Robin Ellacott. It’s also the struggle that Strike has on a daily basis with his disability and the restrictions that it places on somebody who once was a fit, active and obviously physically capable man.

Set these two in a nicely complex plot which has a hefty dig at the publishing industry as well, and this was a great read. Enjoyable, engaging and as good as the first in the series, albeit showing a worrying tendency towards length over content.

As usual, way too late to the party, although the third book is here now and about to commence.


S. Thomas Kaza
I really don't like books where authors make authors the characters in their story. And I don't like books that are 400+ pages long. But I enjoyed the characters in this story so much, it helped to make me forget these other points of contention. Cormoran Strike is a one-legged, beer-chuggin, detective grunt. His assistant, Robin, is a passionate and devoted number two that adds the right touch of class to his act. The story is set in and around London in the publishing world of agents and authors. It has its usual line-up of suspects..... loving wife, betrayed girlfriend, disgruntled agent, etc. And it kept me guessing to very close to the end. Although I should add that I do not read many mystery or detective books.

But I found The Silkworm enjoyable, even before I realized who the real person behind the pen name, Robert Galbraith, is..... I liked the descriptions of Strike in his crummy, but cozy, little flat. It made me wish I had a place like that. Overall I don't think I would want to read this book again, but I will read the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, and any other detective book that the author writes, as long as the detective is Cormoran Strike. For this reason, I give this book four out of five stars.

This book is like stepping into a refreshing pool in a hot summer day, or that first sip of coffee in the morning, or a wonderful and leisurely dinner with friends you have not seen for a while. Familiar yet completely refreshing and satisfying. I love the characters of this series, their complexity and their mystery. It talks about things to come without them being in your face. It is exciting and gripping but you do not want to hurry the story along. You want to drink in every word and page together with Strike and Robin and find the culprit with them. You want to solve the mystery together and part of their story. JK proves yet again that she is not just a master storyteller but an expert at creating characters that stay with you long after the last page has been read. It is just sad that we have to wait for the next Robert Galbraith book to discover what these two are up to!

The best part of the book is the relationship between Cormoran Strike and Robin, his secretary. It isn't romance, yet. He's still recovering from a painful breakup, and she's engaged to the wrong man. But they have a great friendship and work well together. They frequently, too believably, misunderstand each other.

For me, the funniest section of the book is when "Galbraith" turns his meticulous camera on wanna-be, self-published writers. I've read too much of that sort of writing, some of it by friends, and most of it really is that awful. It is hard to convince some people that the agents have a legit reason for not wanting to work with them.

As for the murder mystery itself, once again, Cormoran is right and the police are wrong, which doesn't help his popularity within the force. More importantly, the author once again manages to create a fully rounded personality for the murder victim, and by the end of the book, even though the guy writes very weird stuff, I pity him and his family. He seems much less dislikable once I know him. One trait which redeems him is his obvious love for his handicapped daughter. (I know that isn't the PC term, but I can't find the right words to describe her.)

I did figure out the killer--which I did not in Cuckoo's Calling--but only very close to the end, and only by paying much closer attention. The victim had so many enemies that sifting through them is difficult.

A book that is both gritty, dark, and hard-boiled, yet tender and touching. I highly recommend it.

To me, the saving grace of this novel was the main character, Cormoran Strike. He is an authentic type of person and is consistent in both novels by Rowling/Galbraith. Frankly, if he weren't so appealing I would not have finished the book because I think it was longer than necessary.

Suggested Reading

Black Wolves

The Black Wolves Trilogy

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Who Do You Think You Are - JK Rowling